Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 4/19/2013...
Midnight Movie is a great little effort that follows in the tradition of such old, underrated classics as Anguish, Demons, and Popcorn. It's a movie within a movie...which apparently only appeals to cult film followers, since these movies never really seem to even garner the attention of horror fans, save perhaps the Argento/Bava classic Demons.
The film concerns a mad director who has made in a film in which he has apparently killed the leads in real life. He has been relegated to a mental asylum and has completely taken on the persona of the killer in his movies. His incarceration comes to an end when a soft-headed psychiatrist decides to help him confront his demons by showing him the movie. What follows is a massacre in which everyone in the asylum is murdered and the killer escapes. Five years later, the film surfaces and is being shown at a theater that specializes in "midnight movies". A small crowd gathers to see the film, including the killer's original psychiatrist who escaped the massacre and wants him brought to justice and an obsessed police officer. When the movie starts, the carnage begins as well. Whenever the killer strikes in real life, it's played out on the screen. Can anyone survive this night of terror?
I degrade this film a little by calling it a "small effort". It actually looks good...It has that theater film quality and all of the actors do a fine job playing their roles, particularly the lovely Rebekah Brandes as the lead who must deal with old family trauma as well as a bizarre killer. The movie has twists and turns and will keep you interested. And the movie-within-a-movie scenario is one of the least played-out in movie history...surprisingly. I can't really think of a single movie that has used this formula that has struck out. This is no exception...The best way I could think of to see this film is in a theater...or at a horror movie convention. Barring that, if you can find no one that will watch it with you, enjoy the creepiness in your own domicile. Just keep telling yourself: "It's only a movie". But, is someone also watching you? Food for thought... :-) Have a good one!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Steven H. (sehamilton) from BIRMINGHAM, AL Reviewed on 6/16/2009...
Can't exactly put my finger on it, but I enjoyed this movie. B-film it may be, but it seems to rise above other fare. The story has some originality and the actors are believable. Star Rebekah Brandes is extremely cute and will certainly be seen in future films. Don't expect a big budget picture or lots of genuine scares, but this film is not a bad investment of your free time. Enjoy!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Borrows its premise from Bava, but does the master one bette
David J. Brown | 04/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This at its core a supernatural slasher film. Like all slasher films it is required to have a masked killer who uses a specialised cutting implement to dispatch teens in a particular setting. Like most supernatural films it comes with specific rules and otherworldly occurances and lapses in logic to circumvent said killer. The film works in both its horror subgenres.
Now at first glance the basic premise of the film sounds like Bava's gore/monster classic DEMONS. Sure, that's partially true. It's about a group of people going to see a midnight horror film in an old theater, and then having the horrifying images on the screen come to life and effect the audience in gruesome ways. But that's where the similarities end and the innovation begins. While I love DEMONS, I have to admit beyond the monster effects, soundtrack, cinematography and basic premise, the film brings nothing new to the table that Romero hadn't already in his zombie films. The satire about how movie violence effects its audience is there, but Bava was more interested in the grue, so it gets buried. This film leaves out the satire completely but builds a serious thriller out of it.
First let me praise God, Buddha, Allah, and Jesus that I have seen a slasher film with characters that are likeable and fleshed out--for the most part. There not as in-depth as Hamlet but for this genre they seem real enough. All the characters you're supposed to like, you do. Hell, one character, the Biker, starts off as a loathesome character and then turned out to be my favorite character. The best part about this film is that it works at getting you to like the people involved, but doesn't let that influence who lives and who dies. There are some casualties in this film that will really make you wish they weren't. I was very happy to actually watch a horror film not wishing for the characters' death, but rather rooting for them to escape. Sometimes I was disappointed and sometimes I wasn't....just watch it for yourself if you want to catch my drift.
Now the movie is very violent and even has some intense gross out death scenes in it. How it lays out each murder is rather clever. Every time the horror film on the screen switches to the notorious Killer POV, made notorious by all 80's slasher films, the characters are clued into the fact that they may have to start running for their lives. On the commentary track included on the dvd the director notes how each murder represented a different film style of killing people on screen. The first are off-screen with only the aftermath shown. As the bodycount rises so does the gore level. We even get a torture-porn(on my quest to reclaiming that term still)sequence at the end that involves some toes and a lot of unpleasantness. This is a fun concept for horror movie nerds and finatics.
The ending even goes somewhere you weren't expecting. I won't ruin it, but it's fun and creepy and slips all the way into supernatural fantasy. The film runs short, just about 80 minutes. It's the perfect length for this type of film, a fluff terror piece with an original twist on an old concept. I usually yearn for more when these things run short, but this one got it all right in less than 90 minutes: likeable characters, creative kills, an original idea for a new cineamtic maniac, and surprises and twists.
I really liked this film. It's very under the radar so you might pass it by. I only heard about it because it was elected dvd of the month in Fangoria a couple of months ago. Check it out...NOW."
A Decent Little Slasher Film!!!
Pumpkin Man | 09/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I heard about this film about a year ago, and I happened to see it a few hours ago at Walmart, so I decided to buy it! It has a really cool looking killer, and a perfect slasher film! A random group of people come to see a midnight screening of a classic horror film. While they watch the movie, they see their friends dying and come to understand that the killer in the film can break into reality whenever he chooses to. All the doors and windows are locked, and the group try to escape from the old theater if they wanna make it out alive. I highly recommend MIDNIGHT MOVIE!!!"
Corkscrews are no longer just for wine bottles
Sid the Elf | North Pole | 08/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Around 12:30 am last night after the Late Night Show Sid cruised the channels in hopes of some fine b. Luckily one of the movie channels just started their showing of Midnight Movie. Previously we had read reviews in favor of the film and decided this would be the feature film of the evening. It offered up a nice concept for horror making it a somewhat original b. Sure it's nothing you must see, but for an avid low budget horror fan it's certainly worth the watch.
The film is centered around a group of people gathered at a dive movie theater to view a cult film called The Dark Beneath. Once the film starts rolling in becomes evident that the crowd of ten is in danger as the killer emerges from the screen taking people out one by one. To sum up the killer, he's a far less scary version of Leatherface who dons a corkscrew as his weapon of choice. The way he kills you is by smelling your fear, much like a bee, causing him to stalk you in a very slow foot dragging motion (hence the Leatherface comparison).
All in all the flick was pretty cool with a nice concept. We loved the idea of a killer popping out of the screen, killing his prey, then dragging them back into the movie for storage. However for it to be well received you should be pretty open to weak acting and lack of scares because it's far from frightening. It's more of that good low budget horror that provides more laughs then anything else, which is always a Sid favorite. This one probably would have been enjoyed years ago, but the lack of nudity may have scared a young elf off."
PREDICTABLE, BUT ENDS BETTER THAN IT BEGINS! 2 1/4 STARS!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 03/29/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a big fan of horror films, but there hasn't been much to get excited about lately. This film had some potential, but cardboard characters and a flimsy script kept it from being anything but a routine slasher. The idea is pretty good, kind of like 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' meets 'Last Action Hero', but it just doesn't deliver many chills. The last quarter of the film is better than the first three quarters, but it doesn't save this from being a "by the numbers" horror flick. The acting is decent for this type of film and the killer is pretty cool looking, but the killings are pretty mild for a slasher. It's worth a look for fans of slasher films, but it's pretty forgettable."
The film within a film comes to life, and draws blood . . .
trebe | 02/16/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Midnight Movie (2008) is a slasher film, where the lines of reality become unclear, once the midnight feature begins playing at a small theater. What follows defies logic, as the masked killer from the movie somehow comes to life, and begins ripping out chunks of flesh from those trapped inside the theater.
The killer is Ted Radford, who wrote and starred in 'The Dark Beneath', a seventy's style, black and white, slasher flick. The movie's plot is basic, as a group of four young travelers is stranded by car trouble, and encounter some psycho killers when seeking help at a nearby house. Apparently Radford took his role too seriously, and was sent to a mental institution, where a massacre occurred shortly after a showing of his film. Radford is presumed dead, but Detective Barrons (Jon Briddell) has his doubts.
Jumping ahead five years, it's a slow night at a small Avenue Theater, and just a few customers are in the house for a midnight showing of The Dark Beneath. Among them are Barrons, a biker named Harley (Stan Ellsworth), his girlfriend Babe (Melissa Steach), the theater manager Bridget (Rebekah Brandes), her boyfriend Josh (Daniel Bonjour), and some of her friends are also present. While the movie is playing, the picture transitions to a shot of one of employees being gutted by the masked killer from the movie, then switches to a shot of the victim's body being dragged by the killer, down a hallway and through a door at the end. This process repeats as each victim is slain, but it takes a while before the viewers realize that what they are seeing is real, and that the onscreen killer has come to life. Bridget's younger brother Timmy (Justin Baric), who has sneaked into the theater, is also among those now trapped inside, as none of the doors to the theater will open, and phones do not operate.
Director Jack Messitt's film had a 22 day shooting schedule, and it moves at a brisk pace, once it gets going. The number of victims being dragged down the hall, quickly grows, as Radford puts his deadly tool to use. There is no way to make rational sense out of what is happening, so you need to just go with it and see where it takes you. The actors many not be well known, but their performances are pretty good, with Rebekah Brandes, Stan Ellsworth, Daniel Bonjour, and Melissa Steach, standing out. For a low budget feature, the special effects are quite good. The Killer's spiral metal weapon, does a mean number on human flesh, and the movie features a number of effective looking gut shot wounds, and one nasty head shot. Midnight Movie is a pretty well executed thriller, with a supernatural spin, that some may find a nice change of pace."